Grand Falls, AZ
By George Joe
Grand Falls on the Little Colorado River are a sight to be seen, especially in the spring months of March and April when snowmelt swells the Little Colorado and the maximum volume of water for the year is tumbling over the ancient lava dam across the river that forms the falls. It’s essentially a Niagra Falls on the reservation. Known for its many tiers of water and width.
Located some 30 miles east of Flagstaff on the Navajo Nation, the falls are fed by the snowmelt and rain from the distant White Mountains in eastern Arizona. The spectacle of the falls is present only when the river is actually running! Thus, again, during the snowmelt season, or during the summer “monsoon season” in July and August when widespread thunderstorms over the region many afternoons cause runoff and even flash flooding
Grand Falls are over 180 feet tall, and sometimes rainbows accent the view from the spray of the falling water when the sun is at the proper angle. The Grand Falls viewing area is fairly remote and off the paved roads. There are picnic tables, benches and gazebos near the falls overlook (as well as dangerous drop-offs. Take precautions with children.). Take plenty of water and your own food. There are no services. PLEASE clean up what you take with you – leave no trace!
Four-wheel-drive transportation to the falls is recommended; certainly not low-clearance vehicles.
The hike down into the river gully (there is a distinct trail) near the falls is less than a half mile long and is fairly easy going down. Remember, you have to climb back up. Loose rock and gravel cover the trail so be sure of your footing. Hiking elsewhere on Navajo land requires a permit.
Directions to Grand Falls:
If coming from Interstate 40, turn 15 miles east of Flagstaff at Exit 211 at Winona Rd turnoff. Then drive 2.3 miles to Leupp Road. Turn right (north) and drive 20.3 miles to an unpaved and unsigned Indian Road 6910 (between mileposts 5 and 6). Turn left and drive along this rough road 9.4 miles to a turnoff to the left which leads to the Grand Falls overlook.
If approaching Grand Falls from Leupp, look for Indian Road 6910 (between mileposts 5 and 6) and turn right onto 6910, then it’s 9.4 miles to a turnoff to the left which leads to Grand Falls overlook.
If you want, stop at the Leupp store and ask the cashier or anyone stranger.
Grand Falls, AZ 7-Day Weather Forecast